philip lelyveld The world of entertainment technology


Why is ‘metaverse’ the hottest tech buzzword? Apple has something to do with it

“Metaverse” may sound like some hackneyed term from a William Gibson novel, but Facebook Inc. Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg sounded serious last week about its potential to transform the company he co-founded — and the internet itself.

“I wanted to discuss this now so that you can see the future that we’re working toward and how our major initiatives across the company are going to map to that,” Zuckerberg said on a conference call with analysts following Facebook’s FB, 1.98% second-quarter earnings report. “What is the metaverse? It’s a virtual environment where you can be present with people in digital spaces. You can kind of think of this as an embodied internet that you’re inside of rather than just looking at.”

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Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, and Automation Transforming the Film Industry

PhilNote: nothing new here, but a nice one-paragraph summary of a number of entertainment tech trends.

Recently the Manufacturing Media Consortium and its founder, TR Cutler (TRC) set up a new division examining the role of manufacturing and technology in the entertainment industry. .... What follows is an interview of Jacob Kyle Young (JKY) actor and founder of Post Modern Entertainment.

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BMW Art Car AR program

BMW's Art Car program has been in existence since 1975, when Le Mans driver and art lover Hervé Poulain and BMW Motorsport founder Jochen Neerpaschconvinced Alexander Calder to create a design for Poulain's 3.0 CSL race car. Nineteen artists have since created Art Car models, including luminaries such as Frank StellaAndy WarholRobert RauschenbergJenny HolzerJeff KoonsJohn Baldessari, and Cao Fei.

For the first time, these vehicles are being digitized and collected in one place. And that place is, obviously, the internet. Users can use an augmented reality (AR) app, Acute Art, to place any of 10 cars wherever they point their smartphone camera. New cars will be added every two weeks until all 19 are available.

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ganit goldstein creates an interactive embroidery piece with VR applications

...what if textiles could respond to body movements? this is the question that led ganit goldstein to create an interactive embroidery piece as part of her MA at the royal college of art in london. titled ‘rhythm of matter’, the project explores the role of physical materials in a digital space through a flower-patterned fabric with embedded electronics and virtual reality applications.

...goldstein worked closely with the R&D team of saurer to produce the large piece of fabric. they worked together with special yarns that can change the fabric properties with a light system integrated into the design. the result consists of a flower pattern that reacts to hand movements using a virtual reality application designed on top of the physical fabric.

...the VR application reads the movement of the physical hands when the hands approaching the physical fabric, where the change appears with an interactive movement of the virtual fabrics. this system, a cycle of day and night, communicates movement, color and sound through physical hand gestures and a light system....

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DeepMind’s Vibrant New Virtual World Trains Flexible AI With Endless Play

...The game-managing AI keeps an eye on what the game-playing algorithms are learning and automatically generates new worlds, games, and tasks to continuously confront them with new experiences.

The team said some veteran algorithms faced 3.4 million unique tasks while playing around 700,000 games in 4,000 XLand worlds. But most notably, they developed a general skillset not related to any one game, but useful in all of them.

...By presenting deep reinforcement learning algorithms with an open-ended, always-shifting world to learn from, DeepMind says their algorithms are beginning to demonstrate “zero-shot” learning at new never-before-seen tasks. That is, they don’t need retraining to perform novel tasks at a decent level—sight-unseen.

...But if XLand is a proof-of-concept, their findings may suggest increasingly sophisticated worlds will give birth to increasingly sophisticated algorithms.

...Some believe deep learning will hit a wall and have to pair up with other approaches, like symbolic AI. But three of the field’s pioneers—Geoffrey Hinton, Yoshua Bengio, and Yann LeCun—recently co-wrote a paperarguing the opposite. They acknowledge deep learning’s shortcomings, including its lack of flexibility and inefficiency, but believe it will overcome its challenges without resorting to other disciplines.

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England riots 10 years on: arrested protestors find a voice in augmented reality work

A new augmented reality piece by the Ghanaian-UK artist and filmmaker Baff Akoto will revisit the England riots of 2011—one of Britain’s most unsettling and violent recent historical events—which erupted across several English cities following the shooting of Mark Duggan in Tottenham, North London. 

The shooting of 29-year-old Duggan on 4 August a decade ago, and the subsequent handling of the incident by police, sparked some of the biggest riots in modern English history, resulting in five deaths and more than 3,000 arrests over the course of five days (6-10 August). 

Akoto’s AR work, Up:Rise (from 6 August), can be accessed by scanning QR codes on posters placed in London, Liverpool, Bristol, Manchester and Birmingham. The piece includes archive footage and testimonies from those who participated in the riots nationwide including people who were arrested and convicted.

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Drexel Researchers Will Develop Artificial Intelligence Technologies for Adult Learning and Online Education as Part of $220 Million NSF Initiative

Researchers in Drexel University’s College of Computing & Informatics, who are studying artificial intelligence as a tool for teaching, have been selected to join a $220 million National Science Foundation initiative to expand the use of AI technology in areas ranging from agriculture and food supply chains to adult and online learning. Drexel’s team will join AI researchers from around the country in an effort to use the technology to make education more accessible for Americans who are adapting to rapidly changing workplaces. The NSF’s Adult Learning & Online Education (ALOE) Institute will be supported by $20 million over five years.  

“The goal of ALOE is to develop new artificial intelligence theories and techniques to make online education for adults at least as effective as in-person education in STEM fields,” said Ashok Goel, a professor of computer science and human-centered computing and the chief scientist with the Center for 21st Century Universities at Georgia Institute of Technology, who will be executive director of the ALOE Institute. “ALOE will develop new types of trainable virtual assistants, novel AI techniques to personalize learning at an unprecedented scale, and AI systems to support both learners and teachers.”

ALOE is one of 11 new AI research institutes recently announced by the NSF as an expansion of its NSF AI Institutes initiative that started in 2020. The education-focused ALOE Institute entails 12 partner institutions, including Georgia Research Alliance, Georgia Tech, Drexel, Georgia State University, Arizona State University, University of North Carolina Greensboro, Harvard University, Technical College System of Georgia, Wiley, Boeing, IBM and IMS Global.

Over the next five years, the ALOE Institute will advance AI research in four foundational areas: Personalization at Scale, Mutual Theory of Mind, Machine Teaching, and Responsible AI.

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The Pentagon Is Experimenting With Using Artificial Intelligence To “See Days In Advance”

U.S. Northern Command (NORTHCOM) recently conducted a series of tests known as the Global Information Dominance Experiments, or GIDE, which combined global sensor networks, artificial intelligence (AI) systems, and cloud computing resources in an attempt to "achieve information dominance" and "decision-making superiority." According to NORTHCOMleadership, the AI and machine learning tools tested in the experiments could someday offer the Pentagon a robust “ability to see days in advance," meaning it could predict the future with some reliability based on evaluating patterns, anomalies, and trends in massive data sets. While the concept sounds like something out of Minority Report, the commander of NORTHCOM says this capability is already enabled by tools readily available to the Pentagon. 

...The experiment largely centered around contested logistics and information advantage, two cornerstones of the new warfighting paradigm recently proposed by the Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. A full transcript of VanHerck's press briefing is available online

The machine learning and the artificial intelligence can detect changes [and] we can set parameters where it will trip an alert to give you the awareness to go take another sensor such as GEOINT on-satellite capability to take a closer look at what might be ongoing in a specific location. 


[W]hat we've seen is the ability to get way further what I call left, left of being reactive to actually being proactive. And I'm talking not minutes and hours, I'm talking days.

...We're not creating new capabilities to go get data and information. This information exists from today's satellites, today's radar, today's undersea capabilities, today’s cyber, today's intel capabilities. The data exists. What we're doing is making that data available… and shared into a cloud, where machine learning and artificial intelligence look at it and they process it really quickly and provide it to decision makers, which I call decision superiority.”

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Could Walmart Become The Next Tech Giant?

That’s precisely what Walmart (NYSE: WMT) is doing. The world’s largest retailer announced Wednesday that it will now begin offering subscriptions to its proprietary e-commerce “technologies and capabilities” to small and midsized businesses, teaming with Adobe (NASDAQ: ADBE) to integrate its Marketplace, pickup technologies and online and in-store fulfillment into the software giant’s Adobe Commerce platform.

“We’ve built new capabilities to serve the evolving needs of our own customers, and we have a unique opportunity to use our experience to help other businesses do the same,” said John Furner, CEO of Walmart U.S. “Commercializing our technologies and capabilities helps us sustainably reinvest back into our customer value proposition.”

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The Augmented Reality America’s Cup

In June 2010, the Oracle team hired the two of us to develop the tracking, telemetry, and augmented-reality system for the races. We are both electrical engineers, and one of us (Honey) is a professional sailor who competes in elite races. We have a long history in applying augmented reality to broadcast sports. Our past projects include the yellow first-down line now ubiquitous in televised American football, the tracking system now used in NASCAR and other motor races, and the ESPN K Zone system used to track and show a baseball’s path in the vicinity of the strike zone. ...

Making a sailing race as easy to follow as a football game starts with defining the playing field. On the live video, we’re superimposing lines that delineate the course boundaries along with a “ladder” of 100-meter lines. If two boats are on the same “rung” of the ladder, they have the same upwind or downwind distance to sail to the next buoy-marked gate or mark. With these lines as guidance, even a viewer new to sailing can quickly see which boat is in the lead. We’re also marking an area extending three boat lengths out from each gate with a yellow polygon. When boats enter this yellow zone, race rules aimed at defining which boat has the right of way determine which boat can take the shorter, inside turn through a gate. That’s why we’re identifying the entire zone, not just the gate itself.

...At a glance, a viewer will be able to tell not only which boat is in the lead but also by how much, whether and how fast another boat is gaining on the lead boat, and whether competitors are taking similar or different approaches to the next gate.

...If we tag a boat with a supplemental graphic, it must appear to travel smoothly with that boat. ...So we had to develop a system that could reliably give us location data to within 2 centimeters.

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